Let me add some context here:

In Frank Herbert’s Dune, there is this sentence:

“I know the Dark Things and the ways of the Great Mother,” Jessica said. She read the more obvious signs in Mapes’ actions and appearance, the petit betrayals.

If the betrayals are petit, they are not immediately noticeable to normal folks, and only noticeable to Jessica because of her special training regarding such stuff (don’t worry, this is not even a spoiler). What am I missing?

2 Answers 2


More is a relative adverb, a comparison. Thus, the more obvious signs are more obvious than the other signs, but they can still be extremely subtle.

If it were very obvious signs than they would be obvious in a more absolute sense, but just being more obvious just means the other signs are even less obvious.

  • 2
    I don't have enough reputation to publicly upvote your answer, so I want to thank you through this comment.
    – xef6
    Mar 10, 2019 at 11:38
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    @xef6 I did it for you ;) Unfortunately, I had to un-upvote your question because of the daily vote limit (it was my last vote for today :( ) Mar 10, 2019 at 12:45
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    @xef6: Don't forget that you can also accept an answer. Accepting is good etiquette, and as such it gets you a little reputation. You might want to wait to see if anyone else posts a better one first, though.
    – SamBC
    Mar 10, 2019 at 13:26
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    @SamBC That is exactly why I did not accept the answer right away, but I guess that after 14 views and no opposing answers/comments, I can just as well do it now.
    – xef6
    Mar 10, 2019 at 13:32
  • @SamBC It's good etiquette not to teach people how to accept answers when it's only been a couple of mins, and when you have a vested interest (yours is the only answer posted!) Mar 10, 2019 at 16:45

While already answered, Frank is a master word smith and this sentence provides tone beyond the literal sense. What is being narrated is super human ability and while it is not explicit, it is implicit that should she try she could read deeper. Thus Jessica has a causal relaxed air about her in this moment. Much of Dune is about intrigue and in setting this moment as casual it allows a more pronounced sense of stress to be built up later.

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